Why does increased pain sensitivity occur in women with fibromyalgia?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Fibromyalgia is most common in women. Among the mechanisms that may contribute to increased pain sensitivity in women are the following [35] :

  • Differences in primary afferent input to the CNS, with developmental and menstrual cycle–dependent enhancement

  • Developmental and phasic gonadal-hormonal modulation of pain regulatory systems, stress-induced analgesia, and opioid receptors

  • Higher levels of trait and state anxiety

  • Increased prevalence of depression

  • Use of maladaptive coping strategies

  • Increased behavioral activity in response to pain

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